Albert Pujols is fifth ever with three 50-double seasons

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With an incredible 18 doubles in his last 33 games, Albert Pujols has made it back to 50 for the first time since 2004 and third time in his career. He got the last off Felix Hernandez in Monday’s victory over the Mariners.

Pujols put himself in exclusive company as just the fifth player ever with three 50-double seasons:

5 – Tris Speaker
3 – Stan Musial, Pujols, Brian Roberts, Paul Waner
2 – Craig Biggio, George Burns, Nomar Garciaparra, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Todd Helton, Billy Herman, Chuck Klein, Edgar Martinez, Joe Medwick

Pujols is the only player to achieve three 50-double and 30-homer seasons. While Musial had several 30-homer seasons later in his career and did get to 50 and 30 once, he had just 12 and 16 homers in his first two 50-double seasons. Speaker, Roberts and Waner never hit 20 homers in a season.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.